Andy Shaw of Instafather:

Newborn photos: Richard Veytsman

Newborn photos: Richard Veytsman

With my wife, toddler, and our now-born twin girls. (Photo:  Little Munchin Photography )

With my wife, toddler, and our now-born twin girls. (Photo: Little Munchin Photography)

In sports, you can be an amateur and train to be a professional. At work, you can study to get a new career and get hired as a professional.

In fatherhood? One day, that baby arrives, and you're a freaking dad. Just like that. Ready? Doesn't matter. Feel prepared? Doesn't matter. There is no minor league team. You're going straight to the Show.

I created InstaFather because I both love being a dad and also don't want a lack of confidence preventing other guys from making the most of fatherhood.

Too many times, I'd hear a friend or a stranger say they would love to have their husband more involved with the pregnancy/newborn baby, but he isn't sure what to do.

As one person put it about their Husband, "He doesn't feel empowered to be a dad."

Women feel empowered in part because that baby is growing inside them. That doesn't make being a mom easy - holy crap it's hard - but they don't feel the need for permission.

I'm here to Get you confidence to be a great dad.

Not because I've got some ultra-authority to grant you that. I'm not Jesus. I don't have the beard for it.

But because there is absolutely no reason you can't jump into fatherhood like you own the joint.

Fatherhood is about embracing the fact you won't know everything - I will give you some practical tips you can take action on right away, no doubt, but there is no way to predict an unpredictable baby. Fatherhood is about taking your role because it belongs to you, not because you need to feel like you're constantly asking for someone's blessing - a mother, a grandparent, the baby, a priest, whatever - to be a huge part of this baby's life.

Once that baby arrives, you're genetically a dad right away, trying to learn on the fly how to be a good father. That's InstaFather. 

About Andy Shaw

Photo: Mudpies N Butterflies

Photo: Mudpies N Butterflies

I became a dad on May 12, 2013. I thought I was going to become a dad June 2, 2013. This was my first lesson in "You don't get to pick how parenting works."

My son, Elliott William Shaw, is a wild ball of energy who never stops moving and more than once has made me go "OH GOD PLEASE DON'T" while he does something extremely dangerous. He laughs all the time. He cries for no reason. He's my world.

I'm also now a dad of preemie twins girls who somehow are already toddlers, an entirely new challenge  as my wife and I are the parents of three kids under 4. That's the plot of a horror movie somewhere, I think.

By day, I'm a social media manager for a college and a part-time comedian. Being a dad means lots of jokes that write themselves. 

I also drive a minivan. I'm all in on that. And I'm based in central Pennsylvania (where for several years I wrote an national award-wining parenting column).

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Instafather in the media:

PJ Media: "If you want a glimpse inside your man’s head during pregnancy, because God knows he’s not going to share his roller coaster of emotions with you, check out A thoughtful combination of practical Dad advice, how-to’s and product reviews, Instafather provides free subscribers with email updates featuring a slew of well-researched information. The best part: It’s written in manspeak. No leaky boobs, no stress hormones: We’re talking the practical side of baby raising, with a fair share of compassion for mom thrown in along with a dose of humor for good measure."

Scary Mommy: What Getting a Vasectomy Is Like

Good Men Project: What They Don't Tell You About Being a Dad

Central Penn Parent (Written by Andy): This Column Brought to You By the Letter S

Fatherly: Acting Silly With My Friends Helps Me Be the Best Dad I Can Be - Improv Helps Me as a Dad

York Daily Record: Mother's Day for the Tech-Savvy Mom - "I think in general, men are not as good at talking about things that concern us," Shaw said. "We're a little more likely to just not say anything." His topics vary from how dads can help with breast feeding by getting up to fetch the crying baby, or simply giving tips on how to get the kids dressed and out the door each morning.

Fortunate to be featured in:

You know what it’s like having five kids? Imagine you’re drowning. And someone hands you a baby.
— Jim Gaffigan

Photo credits:

Newborn photos of Elliott: Richard & Tara Photography

Toddler photos of Elliott, Sara & me: Little Munchin Photography

Twin girls: Mudpies N Butterflies Photography

Fall with all five: Blooming Wild Photography

Do not reuse or repurpose photos of my family without my express permission!